If you’re asking yourself if you should start a podcast for your business, I’m here to help.
My podcast has over 100,000 downloads and has ranked as high as 17th in its category. A podcast is a great strategy for me since I run my Aloette business influencer style, but a podcast isn’t a great fit for everyone.
Let’s look at pros and cons so you can decide for yourself:
5 reasons to start a podcast
1. It’s a less competitive space
Perhaps you use Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest to funnel customers and prospects to your blog. Good for you! You don’t have to worry about the algorithm if you own the space, right?
Tumblr has around 400 million blogs. WordPress has 75 million. I won’t even touch self-hosted blogs. So, let’s low ball and say 500 million.
By contrast, current estimates suggest there are around 800,000 podcasts. And only around 40% of those active.
I’m not saying you need to drop your blog cold; in fact, you can repurpose much of that content on your potential podcast (more on that below!). I’m simply illustrating just how early it is in the podcasting space. It’s essentially where bloggers were a decade ago.
Or, as we like to say in direct sales, “ground level”.
Pssst- relax, I’m only being playful!
2. You can create purposeful content
A podcast allows you to produce detailed content and develop topic authority in a purposeful way. You can also promote your direct sales products as your own sponsor! Product of the week feature? Customer testimonials? The sky is the limit.
The average blog post is 980 words. It takes about five minutes to read…assuming your visitors are reading, not skimming.
Most podcasts are over 30 minutes long and have around 5000 spoken words. Rather than skim through a podcast, busy listeners typically speed up to 1.5 or 2X.
Podcast episodes are also a great source of more content. It’s easy to repurpose them into blog posts, infographics and short clips for all those social media funnels.
3. Podcasts are a great way to create sticky, evergreen content
Evergreen is a big buzz word in content creation these days. It means a piece of content that has an indefinite life span. For example, if you sell ZYIA Active, it’s discussing what 4 way stretch in the Light n Tight blend is as opposed to styling a pair of limited release leggings.
Sure, you get your biggest spike of listeners in the first few days, but over time, you’ll notice the number of downloads will continue at a steady pace. Why?
People find new shows and binge all the time. New listeners will also often browse back through all your previous episodes, assuming the show has an indefinite life span. For example, an episode about packing for an ultramarathon from 2019 is still going to be relevant in 2022.
Bonus: when you add an episode to your podcast, everywhere you distribute (Apple, Spotify, Google, etc) creates an episode link for that show. Talk about web presence!
4. Podcasts are portable and convenient
A podcast can go where a blog post, IGTV video, or Facebook group can’t. You can’t scan social media or watch a video while you’re driving; you can multitask and do the housework or workout while you’re listening!
If you know your ideal client is trying to reducer his/her time on social media, a podcast is another way to reach them.
5. Podcasts create trust
People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Podcasts create a unique environment of trust.
Listening to a podcast is an intimate experience. Emotions are often triggered by the human voice. Listeners feel connected to the host because they have spent time with him/her in an uninterrupted environment in a space that discusses something they are personally interested in.
For direct sellers, this means going deeper with an existing audience or capturing the interest of someone outside your warm market who shares a passion for what you love discussing.
Pssst- the intimacy goes both ways. Hosting a podcast requires vulnerability and willingness to open up.
5 reasons you shouldn’t start
1. It’s not easy to start a podcast
You could record a podcast with your built-in microphone and host the episode on a social media channel like Instagram, YouTube, or even your own blog.
That said, there will be limitations (for example, Instagram caps IGTV at 10 minutes in duration) and the quality will be iffy. Plus, now that 40% of people in the United States regularly listen to a podcast, they are going to their favorite podcast players to do so.
Fact: it’s not rocket science. But if you’ve never done it before, there is a learning curve. Which software do you use to edit? How do you record? How do you even submit a podcast to iTunes?
Spoiler alert: I like publishing in Anchor as an independent podcaster but even the all-in-one solution was tricky at first.
It took me 90 episodes to find Squadcast for remote recording, which was about 89 too many.
Don’t start a podcast if you don’t like a challenge.
2. It’s expensive to start a podcast
Even if you decide not to invest in a fancy microphone or editing software, there are still costs associated outside of your time. Where will you host your RSS feed? Popular hosts like Libsyn or Blubrry cost an average of $10/month.
Will you have a website for your show? Will you need to upgrade cloud storage to back up all that great audio you’re recording? How about rights to music you may use?
On the lowest end of the spectrum, expect to spend about $30 a month. This figure does not include equipment or your own personal time.
Don’t start a podcast if you need to make a lot of money.
3. Maintaining a podcast is a commitment
Like anything else in business, consistency is king. A podcast is not a “fail fast” venture. You need to be able to commit to publishing regularly for at least a year.
Creating each podcast episode is a process. You have to consider the topics that will resonate with your audience and plan the content. If your format is interviews, you’ll need to book guests and schedule recording. After that’s all done, you still have to edit the content, upload and promote it.
It takes a lot of time to produce and distribute a quality podcast on a regular schedule.
If you don’t have that time, you will need to pay some else to help. So, then add more money to that monthly figure in number 2.
Can you make the commitment for a full year? Cool, game on. Sound too scary? Maybe you are better served being a guest on other shows (may I suggest Run Lift Mom?).
Don’t start a podcast if you lack discipline.
4. If you start a podcast you probably won’t be an overnight success
You just won’t.
You’ve heard about the person who launched a podcast and got thousands of downloads in month one. They likely already had an established audience. They were already a celebrity or major influencer with an engaged audience.
What you don’t hear about? The person who launched a podcast and has 20 listeners per episode. Week after week after week. There are many of those folks out there!
The median number of listeners for a podcast episode is around 200. That means there are a few podcasts with thousands of downloads per episode, but most are in the handful of listeners category.
Don’t start a podcast for overnight fame.
5. It’s hard to analyze and fine tune a podcast
Analytics rule in content creation. They help us to understand what our audience wants and what they don’t want. Unfortunately, podcast statistics are not as detailed as other sources.
You should be able to find out how many downloads there were of each episode and from which countries.
But you can’t tell how long people listened. Or if they listened to more than one of your episodes. And you can’t even find out how many iTunes subscribers you have.
Optimizing content is important for any direct seller. To achieve this when you start a podcast, you’ll need to dig deeper and encourage audience feedback.
Don’t start a podcast if you aren’t comfortable surveying the audience. And often!
I recorded an episode about starting a podcast with my friend Anna. We have very different shows and strategies, but she uses hers to complement her personal brand, which includes a direct sales brand called Beautycounter.
You can also check out Anna’s blog and listen to Curiouser & Curiouser podcast to see a different direct seller using this strategy well!